Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Is Obamacare this president’s Katrina? If so, it is becoming a national security issue

There sometimes comes a point where an administration screws up something so badly that the mess colors the entire presidency. For President Bush, that was Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Because of the eerie parallels with the handling of the Iraq war, it spilled over and undercut the entire Bush approach of bland reassurance that ...

Wikimedia
Wikimedia
Wikimedia

There sometimes comes a point where an administration screws up something so badly that the mess colors the entire presidency. For President Bush, that was Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Because of the eerie parallels with the handling of the Iraq war, it spilled over and undercut the entire Bush approach of bland reassurance that things were going well in both places.

I fear that Obamacare is doing the same thing to Obama. (I wrote the preceding four sentences last Thursday night, then on Friday morning saw that the New York Times had an article that said pretty much the same thing. Still true.)

Just when you think things couldn't get worse, they do. And how about a little accountability? Why does Sibelius still have her job?

There sometimes comes a point where an administration screws up something so badly that the mess colors the entire presidency. For President Bush, that was Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Because of the eerie parallels with the handling of the Iraq war, it spilled over and undercut the entire Bush approach of bland reassurance that things were going well in both places.

I fear that Obamacare is doing the same thing to Obama. (I wrote the preceding four sentences last Thursday night, then on Friday morning saw that the New York Times had an article that said pretty much the same thing. Still true.)

Just when you think things couldn’t get worse, they do. And how about a little accountability? Why does Sibelius still have her job?

To make things worse, Obama and the people who cover him seem to think that what is needed is another campaign. I think that instead is the problem — too much campaigning, not enough governing.

In one way, this is worse for Obama than Katrina was for Bush. That’s because Democrats will resent the Obamacare failure more intensely than Republicans did Katrina. Democrats want big government to look good (and work well) while I don’t think that Republicans really mind if big government looks bad — it just reinforces their belief in their core ideological point that big government is bad.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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